For the last year, Ethan and I have been growing The Copyblogger Podcast.
We are finally at the point where we feel comfortable monetize it.
It’s important to us that we remain loyal to our audience without hurting the listening experience of the show.
Here’s the plan.
First, Let’s Look at the Analytics
When I took over Copyblogger, my biggest priority was to organize the content, grow the email list, and generate revenue.
The podcast was not a priority. As such, the downloads for the podcast fell to almost zero.
One day, I reached out to Ethan and I said “hey man, I really want to have a podcast, but I don’t want to take it too seriously because that ruins all the fun. You wanna do it with me?”
He said yes. 💍
Ethan and I recorded our first episodes in December of 2021. In our first month, we pushed hard and got close to 7000 downloads. Since then, the download numbers have SLOWWWLLLYYYY been increasing week over week. This last month, we surpassed 30,000 downloads.
It’s very satisfying to look at this chart. We haven’t missed a single Friday of recording since we made the commitment to launch the podcast.
At this point, I feel as though our audience is big enough and engaged enough for us to start monetizing.
So what’s next?
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How We are Going to Monetize
As I said above, we don’t want to ruin the listening experience of the show. There are too many podcasts these days that abruptly go into some random ad about shaving your balls or “man-scaping.”
We don’t want that. If we are going to run ads on the show, we want them to enhance the listening experience, not hurt it.
We explored a few different possibilities.
First, we spoke about possibly creating our own product, but that will be difficult considering I am running my portfolio and Ethan is running Trends.
We also explored the idea of having a subscription based show, where some of the episodes are hidden behind a paywall, but something about that option felt off to us as our goal is to help upstart entrepreneurs and build a thriving community of listeners.
Ultimately, we decided that bringing in show sponsors is the best option. In the future, we may introduce our own products, but for now, we want to start generating revenue and creating a system that allows our production to run smoothly.
The decision is made. We are going to run third party advertisements on our podcast.
But our approach will be slightly different than what you’re used to seeing.
The Tim Ferris Model
I’m sure many of you know about Tim Ferriss’ podcast. If not, not can learn more here.
What Tim does is combine all his media platforms into one advertising network.
For example, when he publishes a podcast, he also publishes the podcast episode on his blog and then he sends his blog posts (word for word) through his email list.
His sponsors pay for exposure on all 3 platforms. So his sponsors get exposure on the podcast itself, they get exposure on the blog, and they also get exposure through the email.
Tim Ferris has an email list of 2 million people. It’s quite possible that his advertisers get more value from his emails than they do from the podcast itself.
But that doesn’t matter, because his ads are all sold through one package.
I don’t know Tim Ferris, and I don’t know the specifics behind his model. The point is that he has a very simple method to give his advertisers top value while also being loyal to his readers and his audience.
You can see below that the ads appear on his blog as well as on his podcast.
We are stealing Tim’s idea …
As we bring on advertisers, we will give them exposure in all three places.
- They will get an ad read on the episode itself – As we said before, as of right now, this means 30,000 listeners will hear the ad each month.
- They will get exposure on the episode post – The posts get a lot of clicks because when we promote the episodes through The Copyblogger newsletter and my personal newsletter, we always link to the post.
- They will get exposure through the newsletter – Although the list isn’t very big now, I plan to create more of a value add in the website to increase email signups. Hopefully we can collect 10,000 or so emails next year.
How Much Money Will We Make?
Ethan and I plan to charge a $25 CPM.
This means that for every 1000 downloads our show gets, we charge $25.
If we stop growing and hold our current downloads, this means we can charge $750 an episode.
30,000 / 1000 = 30 CMP. 30 CPM X $25 = $750.
But, it gets better, because we are now recording and publishing 2 episodes per week, which means we now double the exposure of the show. So now the revenue doubles.
$750 X 2 = $1500
$1500 a week X 52.14 weeks in a year = $78,210 gross yearly revenue.
Assuming that I spend $18,00 a year in production costs such as editing and management, that means there will be $60,000 in net profit for Ethan and I to split.
$60,000 / 2 = $30,000 a year into my bank account.
The Ultimate Goal
In reality, I expect the revenue to be much higher because the show is on a good growth trajectory and we expect to continue increasing the download numbers. However, there is always the district possibility that we decide not to monetize and keep the show ad free.
Because if we do it right, we can turn the show into more of a personal distribution channel than a media network that monetizes through ads.
I think it’s fair to run one ad an episode and distribute the ad through the podcast, website, and email like I explained above.
However, the real opportunity is to turn the podcast into a personal distribution channel to promote whatever it is that Ethan and I are working on.
How will this work? Truthfully, I have no idea. But I do know that if we continue to provide value and share openly about our experiences, opportunities will find us.
Let’s see what happens.